WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that Americans are more interested in the botched rollout of the online health insurance exchanges than they are in relief efforts in the Philippines following the landfall of Typhoon Haiyan.
Only an estimated 32 percent of people in the United States closely followed news of the deadly typhoon that hit the Philippines earlier this month. Conversely, 37 percent cited the rollout of the federal and state exchanges that serve as the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to be the biggest story of interest.
The economy in general tied with typhoon coverage in terms of importance among Americans.
Additionally, a lack of engagement in news stories on the matter was seen in all age groups, especially in younger adults throughout the United States.
“Interest has been particularly low among adults younger than 40, just 20 percent of whom have followed the aftermath in the Philippines last week, compared to the 47 percent who tracked news from Japan in 2011,” a release on the study’s findings noted.
The lack of interest could potentially take its toll on the rates at which Americans donate or otherwise contribute to relief efforts.
“In the past, many have donated to relief causes after the first week,” the release indicated. “For instance, after the earthquake in Haiti, far more said they donated in a survey conducted after 3-4 weeks (52 percent) than had said they donated in the first several days (18 percent).”
Researchers added, “Currently, in addition to the 14 percent who say they have already made a donation, another 17 percent say they plan to. But two-thirds (67 percent) say they do not think they will donate right now.”
In addition to problems caused by a lack of interest in the United States, officials are also warning of scammers who are out to cheat generous donors who want to help survivors of the devastating typhoon in the Philippines.
The Department of Financial Institutions says legitimate relief organizations aren’t the only ones asking for donations. Con artists are also preying on well-meaning donors.
Experts noted that those who are eager to do good should forget the rummage sale clothes, the old toys and the kind of supplies that will only stack up undistributed or damage an already weakened economy, and should instead send cash donation to a respected charity.
Typhoon Haiyan razed the eastern part of the Philippines on Nov. 8, killing thousands and leaving at least 600,000 homeless.
The team involved in the Pew Research Center study conducted interviews with 1,013 randomly selected American adults between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 of this year.
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